Colin’s Favorite Albums of 2024 (So Far), Pt. 2

Now let’s take a look at some of the more recent albums that transitioned us from Winter to Spring to Summer. As you may notice, a lot of these albums are a bit more high profile or ones I had already been anticipating, but well, those are just the albums you end up listening to the week (or month) of their release. Hopefully, there will be a few more low-key albums out there from this first half of the year that I’m able to catch up with as the year progress. And who knows, maybe I’ll end up writing about them at year’s end.

For the first three albums, I don’t need to go too in-depth with them, since I already praised them on episodes of The Pick. But they’re albums so nice, they’re worth talking about twice. Continue reading

Colin’s Favorite Albums of 2024 (So Far), Pt. 1

For the first part of this year, writing about music got away from me.

I’m not exactly sure why, but the easiest answer is probably just the general decline in us writing consistent reviews of anything on this blog. Additionally, my general mood about online music writing also hasn’t been helped by the announcement that Pitchfork, the one critical voice that was always dependable, was being folded into GQ, not to mention the other online pop culture sites that have been gutted the past few years.

But really, the more optimistic reason for why I haven’t been posting music reviews on here is that there’s been a fairly overwhelming amount of good music to listen to this year. So much so that every time I’ve found a new favorite album of the moment, a new one gets released the next week. And even when there hasn’t always been a new album out there to mesmerize me, there have also been plenty of high-profile pop albums this year that despite their varying quality, at the very least felt like necessary listening. Perhaps this doesn’t all excuse my laziness, but either way, there have been a lot of albums worth diving into, and it’s made it hard to know where to start. Well, let’s start here. Continue reading

Oscars Fortnight: Past Lives

Past Lives (2023)

The 96th Academy Awards (2024)
Nominations:
2
Wins:

What do Casablanca, Titanic, Brokeback Mountain, Atonement and Call Me By Your Name, all have in common? They all were nominated for Best Picture, of course! But beyond that, they’re all tragic romances about missed connections. The right people meeting at the wrong time. This year’s Past Lives participates in that proud tradition but very much in a cool, In the Mood for Love slow, unspoken way. Will that be enough to bring first time writer-director Celine Song Oscar gold in a few weeks? Probably not but it’s nice to dream.

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Oscars Fortnight: Finding Neverland

Finding Neverland (2004)

The 77th Academy Awards (2005)
Nominations:
7
Wins: 1

Why am I drawn to the worst films nominated for Best Picture? Finding Neverland is not terrible but it has no business being selected as one of the Best Films of 2004. The 77th Academy Awards did otherwise deliver a solid lineup; Million Dollar Baby (the winner), The Aviator, Sideways, Ray, but Finding Neverland? You could have given that spot to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Collateral, or The Incredibles (yeah, right they aren’t that cool). So why Finding Neverland? Answer: the Oscars LOVE middling biopics.

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Oscars Fortnight: Joker

Joker (2019)

The 92nd Academy Awards (2020)
Nominations:
11
Wins: 2

I was thinking about this the day I watched Joker (because I was also thinking about Vampire Weekend announcing their first album in five years), but 2019 really was a different time. Covid hadn’t happened, we’d started to (sort of) adjust to Trump being president, and superhero movies were at the peak of their popularity. The latter two of these things of course coalesced in the movie Joker, melding Batman’s greatest foe and incel culture. So like many cultural moments of the Trump era, there was a lot of Discourse around it.

Now, with a new Joker movie coming out later this year and the benefit of a few years of distance from the film’s release, I wanted to try and revisit this movie without all of its cultural baggage and take it in more on its merits as a film, which apparently there was enough of to earn Oscars. Though that’s going to be a little hard, since its messaging (or lack thereof) is still a little hard to separate from what this movie is doing within the confines of its own vision of Gotham City. Continue reading

Oscars Fortnight: Dangerous Liaisons

Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

The 61st Academy Awards (1989)
Nominations:
7
Wins: 3

I like Cruel Intentions more than Dangerous Liaisons (let’s count how many times I misspell “Liaisons”). CI is not a better movie than DL, I’m not even sure if it’s a good movie. Why do I prefer a piece of ‘90s trash to an ‘80s critical darling? Because CI has hot people in it. I mean no disrespect to John Malkovich or Glenn Close, but considering how sexy the source material is here, it would be nice to get more studs and studettes in this joint. DL does have Michelle Pfeiffer (smart move) and Uma Thurman in a smaller role (another smart move) and Keanu Reeves (I love you Keanu but you are terrible in period pieces) but Merteuil and Valmont are the heart of the story, and there’s just not enough blood pumping for my personal tastes.

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Oscars Fortnight: American Fiction

American Fiction (2023)

The 96th Academy Awards (2024)
Nominations:
5
Wins:

I’m really glad I saw American Fiction in theaters. Based on the 2001 novel Erasure by Percival Everett, this is a tricky movie because it openly challenges audiences (especially white audiences) to question their taste. It’s the story of an author choosing to forgo artistic integrity and self-respect in favor of people-pleasing drivel, and how that farce leads him to unbelievable success. So then when I watched it, I couldn’t help but wonder how in on the joke was I? Am I watching a satire or is the real satire that American Fiction is garnering critical praise and award nominations? Thankfully, I saw it with a crowd who were engaged and laughing at the jokes, so I was able to remember the important thing: if I’m having a good time, the rest doesn’t matter.

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